The USA could be a backpackers dream.
The states have some of the best road trips in the world and an almost limitless list of world famous sites and landmarks to visit.
A literal Tonne of people travel America every year. Millions of people go there for holidays, exchange programs, studying, visiting relatives and countless other reasons.
However, for all that the country has to offer it seems that hostels are not it’s strongest point.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some great hostels in America, one of them even made it into my top 5 – there’s just not enough of them .
America needs more hostels.
Searching on Hostelworld for hostels in the USA often brings up only one or two results for each major city and in some locations no results whatsoever are shown! For instance, when I was stateside and searched for hostels in Boston, two results were shown. As a a result of there being very few hostels the ones that do exist are astronomically overpriced. They can pretty much charge what they like and I ended up paying $55 a night for a hostel on the outskirts of the city.
If there’s an event on in the city you want to visit you’re pretty much screwed because it’s going to be fully booked miles in advance. For instance, when I was in Phili I arrived on a Thursday and literally bagged the cities last bed in a hostel because there was a music concert on that weekend. My mates who arrived the day after me had to stay in a dingy motel outside the city.
At the moment in the USA there’s more preferable options such as B&B’s, motels and cheap hotels. It seems the hosteling culture hasn’t really caught on yet. Yet there’s a huge demand – all the hostels i stayed in were either full or nearly full and everyone i spoke to thought there should be more.
To be fair, the American hostel scene is in its infancy. I mean the country is only 240 years old so we’ll give it some time to catch up. I’m also speaking as an avid traveler of Europe where you can just rock up to any city and at least a couple of great hostels in a central location will have a space for you – this it what the American hostel scene needs to aspire to.
It’s pretty simple.
More people with a passion for travel need to seize the potential for hostels in the USA and set them up.
More beds in a city = cheaper beds.
It will create a competitive environment which will encourage hostels to better their standards as they will be vying for travellers custom. If you’re going set up a hostel the USA is a good place to think about doing it, there’s lots of travellers and not many hostels!
America, you’re going to be great at hostelling – you’re loud, sociable and can always provide the entertainment.
Just hurry up about it.